bonsaidude
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Sand for soil ?

I was just wonderin the bonsais that have bought recently the soil is just kinda dirt and a grity material asumming sand ? Is this normal sand say if I were to take sand out of my driveway sift it up and mix it with some potting soil is this fine and same type of thing or is this special stuff (going to plant some bonsai seeds) and yes I know that this is a very long prosess and willing to try it out only 22 years old so I got plenty of time did a lot of research into it and feel pretty good about it but any tips or links will always take thank you.

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djlen
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A rule of thumb that I follow is never use any media that is less than 1/8" in diameter. I try to keep my ingredients in the 1/8" - 3/16" - 1/4" area.
When you use stuff that is finer in size (especially sand) it tends to compact and so it interferes with the plant's respiration.
In short, I would not use any kind of sand. :)

A personal note bonsaidude.
I am wondering if you could possibly add some capitals, commas, and periods in your posts. I enjoy your participation but find your posts difficult to follow with so little punctuation.
Regards,
Len

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bonsaidude
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Lol i know its bad, i was at work and typed that up quick ( on phone ). Plus my thing is on comps i don't really care if i misspell or forget things like that, forced a bad habit i gues but ill be sure to make it legible for you guys sorry. :(

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djlen
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Thanks for the consideration and effort.
I hope you also got the part about the particle sizes of the media for optimum water movement and respiration for the roots.
Regards,
Len

"As the twig is bent, so the tree inclines"
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Marsman
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You mentioned sand from your driveway. Please don't use that for your trees. It is most likely quite contaminated with oils and salts.

And I use [url=https://www.iespell.com/]ieSpell[/url] on my PC and check every post I make before I hit Submit. Writing a clear and properly formated post lends credibility. If you expect folks to take your posts seriously, take the time too write it properly.

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Tachigi
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djlen wrote:A rule of thumb that I follow is never use any media that is less than 1/8" in diameter. I try to keep my ingredients in the 1/8" - 3/16" - 1/4" area.
When you use stuff that is finer in size (especially sand) it tends to compact and so it interferes with the plant's respiration.
In short, I would not use any kind of sand. :)
I agree with you on "sand" in a generic sense. There are many types of sand that is very usable... pool sand, contractors sand etc... As a solid inorganic substrate sand should not be high on your list with other ingredients like lava or pumice that give sharper edges and more surface area, and best of all it is moisture retentive.

Grain size also can be adjusted down to 1/16th for the right tree like shohin. Djlen you must have Kifu or Chuhin size trees, if so your size is perfect.
Cheers, Tom

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applestar
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Marsman wrote:You mentioned sand from your driveway. Please don't use that for your trees. It is most likely quite contaminated with oils and salts.
I agree. I asked for a bucket of snow, meaning "plunge the bucket in the fresh fallen snow and scoop it up," but he failed to read my mind yet again, and he put in a shovelful of clean white looking snow from the drive way (he hadn't hit the concrete yet). When the snow melted, there were black particles that were not visible in the snow as well as a sheen of oil floating on the top. :eek: He had scooped it from next to the truck as it was running, so I can only assume that the gunk was part of the exhaust, or possibly some of the snow that was brushed off the truck.

Rosaelyn
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Poor lil plants. :(
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If you would know strength and patience, welcome the company of trees. ~ Hal Borland

bonsaidude
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Haha ok well i gues it was the wrong example, but i wasent honestly gonna go take sand from my driveway and use it obvious cuase of oil being the biggest part and understand that. Was just seeing if what they were using was just normal sand, and also see if i can get it from close source and free was kinda were i was gettin it at.

Marsman
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If you have any rivers or streams near you, you can get some good sand there. Do you have a sifter to strain the sand?

bonsaidude
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Yes i have a very nice river i like to visit, Little hike in the woods takes about 10 min to get to and path leads up a moutian. Thats were i get my supply of moss is along that river, no i don't have sifter just yet but deff planning on investing in one got a link for good a one ?

Rosaelyn
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I would still avoid sand as an additive to bonsai soil, but maybe that is me personally. The one tree I have that came to me in a sand-based soil (my Chinese Elm) is already having major drainage issues that will be corrected in the spring, when I repot him.
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djlen
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Rosaelyn wrote:I would still avoid sand as an additive to bonsai soil, but maybe that is me personally. The one tree I have that came to me in a sand-based soil (my Chinese Elm) is already having major drainage issues that will be corrected in the spring, when I repot him.
Couldn't agree more. IME, anything finer than 1/8" is not going to drain well.
Regards,
Len

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- Virgil
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- Len
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The Helpful Gardener
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What about shohin?

Size of the plant and pot seems an important factor...

I seem to remember something about nearly straight sand as the preferred method for starting pine seedlings as bonsai (the best pines were never cut at all and grown from seed).

All things have use... :)

HG
Scott Reil

Rosaelyn
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Okie, I was starting to wonder if I was defining bonsai sizes incorrectly, but I looked up an article on the Knowledge of Bonsai website:

https://knowledgeofbonsai.org/articles/shohin/what-is-a-shohin-bonsai/

Shohin are less than 10 inches. Mame are less than 4 inches in height, but it appears mame is a type of shohin. So I think I am all cleared up now. :)

I would think even in a tiny pot with a tiny tree in it would get clogged up with the sand, though...
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If you allow the soil to compact it might, but if you grow organically it is very difficult to compact a soil, any soil. Biology has a myriad of tricks to aggregate and hold soils open... My old mentor grew some trees in garden soil... nutz: his watering was much different too...

We all find our own paths...

HG
Scott Reil

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djlen
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Rosaelyn wrote:
I would think even in a tiny pot with a tiny tree in it would get clogged up with the sand, though...
Sand compacts over time. I would not use it regardless of tree/pot size.
Regards,
Len

"As the twig is bent, so the tree inclines"
- Virgil
"I rarely agree with most of what I say........." -
- Len
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Gnome
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Len,

I'm with you and Rosaelyn, what most people think of as 'sand' is too fine for me. Anything less than 1/16" never finds it's way into any of my pots, with 1/8" being the lower limit for most things, and the smaller sizes (1/16" - 1/8") being reserved for cuttings and seedlings as Scott mentions.

However, as Tom pointed out, not all sand is created equal. Rather than concern ourselves with nomenclature, better to evaluate the material in question.
https://www.dallasbonsai.com/store/river_sands.html

Scott,
What about shohin?

Size of the plant and pot seems an important factor...
Let's not forget climate too. In my area I don't find it necessary to go down that fine for shohin sized plants. Other growers, under different circumstances, might make a different choice. I don't really do mame but my cuttings and seedlings, of a similar size, do get the finer (1/16" - 1/8") mix. At the first re-potting, sometimes even the same year, I step up to my general mix.
My old mentor grew some trees in garden soil...his watering was much different too...
Yes, our trees will grow in many mediums providing our watering habits match the circumstance. Still, I think most modern enthusiasts would agree that a more free draining medium is preferable.

Here are a few examples of what I routinely find in my pots. The first example is in an even coarser (1/4"+) mix.
[url=https://img208.imageshack.us/i/20092h.jpg/][img]https://img208.imageshack.us/img208/5326/20092h.th.jpg[/img][/url]

[url=https://img258.imageshack.us/i/29036461ed2.jpg/][img]https://img258.imageshack.us/img258/141/29036461ed2.th.jpg[/img][/url]

Anyone who wants to learn more about the mechanics of soil composition and container culture would be well served to read these:

https://www.evergreengardenworks.com/earthpot.htm
https://www.evergreengardenworks.com/soils.htm
https://www.evergreengardenworks.com/soilage.htm

Norm

bonsaidude
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How bout lava rocks, do you guys like them ? i bought a 5lb bag of those for the top of the soil when i get some good established ones. I see in gnomes pics what looks like some lava rocks, so im guessin mixin a few of those and some regular rocks about the same size in the soil would be my better bet for size. If u don't mind me sneaking a quick guestion also about my elm, if you remember my waterting problem from a diff post and since then has been 110 % better. I was wonderin on those very long shoots he dropped some leaves from it and has alot towards the end of it, come spring will he fill back in the rest of the shoot with leaves ( i know its prob yes but j/w ).

[img]https://img638.imageshack.us/img638/6406/shoots2.jpg[/img]
( update pic no yellow at all :) !!! ) fruit by the foot anyone ?

[img]https://img35.imageshack.us/img35/9699/shoots3.jpg[/img]
( shoot bare at start then goes into leaves )

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djlen
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If you are referring to the pictures the Norm posted above, I believe that that is mostly a clay substrate such as Turface.
You can use lava rock in conjunction with any of the other non-organics or organics but in most cases it needs to be pounded out to the sizes referred to above, so if it's not in the 1/8" - 1/4" size range, get out the hammer. :)

With regards to your Elm question, you can get it to what we call "back-bud" by pinching back the terminal (end) leaves. Then the nodes between the terminals and the next largest branch will pop for you. This is how one improves ramification (finer branching). Elms are especially happy to do this for you so don't be afraid to get the scissors out and pinch off those terminals. The tree will look much fuller that way.

Important: Just for your own information. Rather than post a question like that in a thread as you've done here, you will get much more response if you post your own thread with a title such as "How do I get my Elm's branches to fill out?" Then enclose those pictures and you will get many more replies/opinions than you will get posting on a topic so unrelated to your question.
Your tree is looking much happier, btw. :)
Regards,
Len

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- Virgil
"I rarely agree with most of what I say........." -
- Len
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Gnome
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bonsaidude,

Yes, there is definitely Lava in the first picture with the balance of the inorganics being Haydite, I think. The second probably has Lava as well but with the slightly smaller particle size and the the root colonization it is not so obvious. It looks like that one does have Turface in it also, good eye Len. I have used various inorganic components and have occasionally washed and reused them so some of my plants are in a hodgepodge of ingredients.

As Len mentioned finding Lava in the correct size may be a challenge, I never have locally. I have, in the past, recruited a young nephew who likes to smash things to help me 'size' lava. [url=https://www.smileyvault.com/][img]https://www.smileyvault.com/albums/misc/smiley-vault-misc-045.gif[/img][/url] The hard part is to not pulverize it completely.

Our new member Tom offers this material, see the link in his signature for this and other components.

Norm

bonsaidude
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Can i pinch now ? ( lets use the shoot in the picture for example ). what i was waiting for was spring or just leaves to come back in genral, cuase the thing i heard is that there should be at least 2 leaves left on the shoot so it could support it. So in the end i was gonna wait for the leaves to come back then cut it. so if i trim that whole terminal back and have no leaves left on the shoot he will still grow back the leaves on it ?

Personal note, jeez you guys are hard to please lol (only bustin)


Moderators Note: The discussion about bonsaidude's Chinese Elm should be continued [url=https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=111805#111805]here.[/url] Thanks.

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